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macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: president obama took his push for tighter gun control laws on the road today to a police department in minnesota. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the newshour tonight, we get reaction to the president's proposal to ban assault weapons and institute universal background checks from two local law enforcement officials. >> brown: then, we have the story of a navy seal, a sniper in the iraq war and best-selling author who was gunned down by a fellow vetan aa shooting range in texas. >> ifill: margaret warner looks at how ancient manuscripts in mali were saved, hidden from destruction during the conflict with islamist rebels. >> brown: what makes a great teacher? hari sreenivasan reports on a charter school in connecticut that uses a checklist to evaluate and keep the best of them in the classroom. >> we have parents, students, peer and principal surveys, so the teachers are really getting a whole 360 take on what they are doing well and what they need to improve.
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>> ill: the 500-year-old bones unearth in a parking lot in england are those of king richard iii. john burns of the "new york times" fills us in. >> brown: and we close with a conversation with a master of the short story, writer george saunders. >> for me, the approach has become to go into a story not really sure what i want to say, trying to find some little seed, crystal, an interesting sentence or an image that leads to an idea, and as much as possible divest myself of any deep ideas about it. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years.
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bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: president obama made his first second-term foray outside washington today, with a call to stop gun violence. it was part of a campaign-style effort designed to goad congress into action. >> we don't have to agree on everything to agree it's time to do something.
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>> ifill: the president took that message to minneapolis, a city that's already imposed stricter background checks on gun buyers. the white house plan calls for those checks, a renewed ban on assault-style weapons and limits on high-capacity magazines for ammunition. >> the only way we can reduce gun violence in this country is if the american people decide it's important. if you decide it's important. if parents and teachers, police officers and pastors, hunters and sportsmen, americans of every background stand up and say, "this time it's got to be different." >> ifill: the obama administration has been working to build on public outrage sparked by the mass shooting in newtown connecticut that left 20 children and six adults dead. ♪ for purple mountain majesty ♪ above... >> ifill: echos of that crime were still in the air last night
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at the super bowl where the sandy hook elementary school chorus sang "america the beautiful" before kick-off. and a super bowl ad paid for by mayors against illegal guns, a gun-control group, financed by new york mayor michael bloomberg, appealed for background checks for gun buyers. it featured a child narrator and vide of natnalifle association leader wayne lapierre from 1999. >> the n.r.a. once supported background checks. >> we think it's reasonable to provide mandatory criminal background checks for every sale at every gun show. no loopholes anywhere for anyone. >> ifill: the 30-second spot aired on the cbs affiliate that serves washington d.c., but lapeer air repeated yesterday the n.r.a. no longer supports universal checks. >> it's a fraud to call it universal. it's never going to be universal. the criminals aren't going to comply with it.
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they could care less. >> ifill: he insisted most americans will not buy the president's push for new gun laws. >> they don't want more laws imposed on what is only going to be the law-abiding. they see how little all this has to do with keeping our kids safe and how much it has to do with a two-decade long agenda to just drug out the same old gun ban proposals they've been trying for 10, 20, 30 years and piggy-back them on to this tragedy. >> ifill: president obama says his ideas are common sensory form not punitive action named at gun owners. in a recent interview he even said he scoots skeet at camp david. after skeptics questioned that claim, the white house released a photo over the weekend of him from last august doing just that. of the president is expected to visit other cities in the weeks ahead pressing congress to act and soon. the gun violence debate shifts
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dending on where y siteven if youre in law enforcent. our guests e one exame. charles ramsey is police commissioner of philadelphia, the nation's fourth largest police department. and bruce hartman is sheriff in the rural community of gilpin county, colorado, the second smallest county in the state. welcome to you both. we heard at the top of that taped piece the president say, "with don't have to agree on everything to agree that it's time to do something." let me start with you, sheriff hartman, what does doing something mean to you? >> well, my concern is that all the players aren't inved to the table. we all recognize these tragedi tragedies. we need to do something to try and prevent them. that is a common goal. but mental health issues seems to be an underlying problem, and that hasn't been addressed to the best of my knowledge. >> ifill: commissioner ramsey, what is doing something mean to you? >> well actually let me just say
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that i agree with what the sheriff just said. mental health is a big part of this issue. it has been discussedded at least at the meetings that i've attded. but status co- isn't acceptable. i mean, i certainly support what the president is trying to do as it relates to the assault weapons and magazine clips. and universal background checks which i still don't understand why anyone would object to a universal background check. but, you know, we need to also tighten some of these laws or at least start to enforce them. i mean, you know, we've got people now that get caught with guns and very little happens to them. there needs to be very, very stiff sentences for people caught carrying guns illegally. purchasers need to be dlt wh ry hshl weneed to strictly enforce laws that we have in addition to some of the new initiatives. >> ifill: let's talk to sheriff hartman about that because it's impossible for us to solve the problem here tonight. let's look at the background checks where there seems to be some agreement at least in washington. out where you are, is that
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something which is is feasible? >> yes, it is. we have provisions in our state law for background checks at gun shows. i concur with the chief. i believe the ultimate goal is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals but... >> ifill: what... i was just going to ask you about a ten-round limit on magazines? >> i think that's something that could bear discussion. but somebody that trains well can change a magazine in a matter of fractions of seconds. i don't know if that addresses the entire problem. >> ifill: commissioner ramsey, the president talked again today about an assault weapons ban. is that something that you think is do-able? is that something that the present should be focusing on? or on more minor moves, i suppose? >> well, i mean, is it do-able? certainly anything is do-able but there are an awful lot of
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them out there now. i think the bill that senator feinstein just recently introduced grandfathers in all the existing assault type of weapons so it will be a while before you see any impact. a majority of homicides that we have at least here in philadelphia and from chiefs around the country that i've spoken to, predominantly handgu, semiautatic handguns, nine millimetre being the one that we recover most often. so there has to be a combination of things. there is no one thing that can be done that's going to have an impact. the bottom line is we need decent laws, reasonable laws in place, maybe inconvenient to some folks that have to, you know, go through background checks even with private sales, but it's something that we have to do to make sure that the guns are not falling into the wrong hands. reporting a gun lost or stolen, to me, another reasonable thing that i believe would definitely help us in law enforcemt. and thereal going aft the people that are out here committing crimes, using a handgun, using assault weapons.
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it doesn't matter what they use. once they're caught and convicted they need serious jail time. >> ifill: we started this conversation by saying things are very different in rural jurisdictions than in urban. what kinds of needs do you have... that are different from what commissioner ramsey is talking about? >> well, in the rural part of the country, we expect that people may have a firearm in their car if we stop them. that's part of the culture a thway thingsare in rural america. that doesn't make them criminal by any means. but that is one of the differences i suspect in the major metropolitan areas if you do a traffic contact and there's a firearm in the car that that is significant factor to the officer. >> ifill: let me ask you this, sheriff. does a federal law or a federal enforcement, does it help make your job easier or harder? >> that's a mixed bag.
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there are sme restrictions. the prince bill or prince-case which went to the united states supreme court in relation to the original brady amendment found that local law enforcement is not obligated or cannot be compelled to enforce federal law. so there are some legal things that need to be considered all across the board. >> ifill: commissioner ramsey, would you like to see more or less federal involvement? >> i mean, i think it has to be a balance. you don't want to take away too much from the stes. at the same time, if you don't have some federal laws in place then once they can relatively strict laws, the surrounding states don't. so you don't really accomplish a whole lot. i think one of the things that the sheriff mentioned earlier -- and i agree wholeheartedly with -- i mean, you have to hear from everything. ... everybody. it is a big difference between policing in a rural jurisdiction versus an urban area like i have. and so we need to take all these
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things into consideration. there has got to be a solution to this problem that we have. you know, people keep saying more guns, more gs, more guns but,ou know, there's a young man from virginia tech who was shot four times during that particular incident. he said something the other day that i thought really it certainly got to me, and that is that if more guns made it safer, we ought to be the safest country on the planet but we're not. so we've got to be able to sit down and figure something out. but all voices need to be heard. everybody needs to be able to give a little bit and let's see what we can come with up. >> ifill: assuming that you both agree the idea is to get guns out of the hands of the criminals, let me start with you. sheriff hartman, what else can you agree about with the commissioner that you can helping you do your job? >> well, there's a multitude of things. the concern that i believe a lot of the sheriffs in this country have, in our attempt to take care of this problem we have,
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the rights of some of the citizens could get trampled on. the vast majority of assault weapons -- and i'm not sure what that is. i've never heard a good definion -- there tens thousands in the hands of private citizens that aren't used for crime. and so i think a sweeping "you can't own this or possess that" isn't the answer. >> ifill: commissioner ramsey? think you have to talk about things like this. you know, the president put forth a package. there's going to be a lot of negotiation to take place in congress. everyone voice's needs to be heard. there needs to be something reasonable that comes out of this. background checks, if it's limiting certain types of, you know, magazines or weapons which quite frankly if you limit one kind of weapon a manufacturer just figures a way to kind of get around it. the real key is getting guns out
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of the hands of the wrong people. whether they're mentally ill, whether they're just flat-out criminals. whatever the situation might be. now the question is how do we best do that and still protect the rights of american people to own a gun if they want to own a gun? i think there's got to be something here that we can really work on that's meaningful. b it can'tust be status co. you just can't say no to everything. we have to do something or we're going to be dealing with the newtowns and columbines and auroras over and over and over again. it's not going to fix itself. >> ifill: commissioner charles ramsey of philadelphia and sheriff bruce hartman of gillpin county, colorado, thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, the life and death of an american sniper; the rescue of ancient documents in mali; a checklist for good teachers; the identification of a british monarch's skeleton; and writer george saunders. but first, the other news of the y. here's hari sreenivasan.
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f.b.i. agents stormed a bunker in alabama rescuing a five-year-old boy after a week-long stand-off. officials said agents move in after talks with the boy's captor, 65-year-old jim dykes deteriorated. he was found dead after the operation. dykes took the boy hostage last week after attacking a school bus and killing the driver. a suicide bomber in iraq struck at an anti-al qaeda militia today, killing at least 22 people and wounding 44. it happened in the town of taji, 1miles north baghdad. the bomber mingled with men who were waiting to be paid. the attack came a day after 16 iraqis were killed and around 90 wounded in a series of bombings in kirkuk. a pakistani girl shot by the taliban is speaking out for the first time since the attack that nearly killed her. 15-year-old malala yousufzai was shot in the head last october. that same month, she was airlifted to a hospital in britain. in a new video released today-- but taped last month-- she insisted she will go on advocating for the education of girls.
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>> i'm getting better day by day. it's just because of people. because all the people, men, women, children, all of them, all of them have prayed for me. because of these prayers, god has given me a second life. this is a new life. i want to serve the people. i want every girl, every child to be educated. >> sreenivasan: the teenager is expected to remain in britain for some time. newly installed secretary of state john kerry had his first day on the job today. the former senator entered the state department's harry truman building to a big crowd and loud cheers from staffers. he said he hopes to help make the world more prosperous and peaceful. wall street had its worst day of the year to date, amid new concerns about europe and its debt load. the dow jones industrial average fell back under 14,000 losing 129 points to close at 13,880.
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the nasdaq dropped nearly 48 points to close at 3131. baltimore ravens fans celebrated their super bowl win today. it was the second time the team has won the nfl championship. last night, a mass party filled city streets after the ravens defeated the san francisco 49ers, 34-31. there's an official victory parade tomorrow. the game was the third most- watched program in u.s. television history, despite a power outage that halted play for 34 minutes. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and to the compelling story of u.s. military veteran chris kyle. iraqi insurgents once dubbed navy seal chris kile the devil of ramaddi. a man who gained a reputation as one of the deadliest snipers in u.s. military history credited with more than 150 kills. insurgents even put a five-figure bounty on his head that was never collected. last year kile recounted his life as a sharp shooter in a best-selling book american sniper. just two weeks ago he spoke of the trouble many american troops have coming home and readjusting
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to civilian life. >> you're vulnerable. you're doing it for the greater good. all of a sudden you don't have an identity. >> brown: on saturday 38-year-old kile and a friend 345-year-old chad littlefield were shot dead at a gun range outside fort worth texas. >> mr. kile works with people that are suffering from some issues that have been in the military. this shooter is possibly one of those people. >> brown: the alleged killer was identified as 25-year-old eddie ray routh who had served in iraq as a u.s. marine. he was apprehended and chargedded with two counts of capital murder. melissa repko has been reporting on this story for the "dallas morning news." she joins us now. melissa, thanks for joining us. tell us a bit more about chris kile's own story. he grew up there in texas, right? >> that's right. he he grew up in texas. he mentioned in an interview that he dreamed of being a cow
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boy or becoming a person in the military. he ended up joining the navy seal and becoming a very successful sniper. had was deeply christiane in his faith. he was well liked by his peers. >> brown: he served with great distinction. he came back and wrote this best selling memoir of his time in iraq. he had his own proble adjusting to life back at home. >> yes, he did. he mentioned that when he got back, it was a jarring transition to return to civilian life. he couldn't connect as much with people who hadn't experienced and seen what he had seen during his four deployments in iraq which led him to empathize with fellow veterans and want to help them. >> brown: tell us about that work. since 2009 i gather he's been quite active in trying to work with other vets. >> that's right. he actually started a nonprofit that provided at-home exercise equipment to help them. but he had alaken them out to t rah to go hting or shooting or just give them a break from some of the stresses
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of civilian life especially those with post traumatic stress disorder. >> brown: tell us a little bit about that work. >> he volunteered on some wounded warrior retreats but he would also spend some time, sometimes he would be contacted by people who knew struggling veterans and so he'd begin to mentallor them and form a relationship with them. >> brown: what is known at this point about his death? what do we know about what happened? >> wh we know is that the thre men werell ging to t shooting range together. it was about 50 miles southwest of fort worth in a very remote location. they arrived at about 3:15. their death is believed to have occurred around 3:30 according to officials. at some point it's believed that the man they were trying to help by taking him out to the range actually turned and shot them. >> brown: what is known about eddie ray routh? >> well, we know that may have been struggling with something. we don't know for sure if he had
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post traumatictressisorr. just today we've discovered a police report from lancaster police that indicates his parents had contacted police after an altercation when he was threatening to kill them and to take his own life. so he had had violent tendencies in the past. and it's unclear officials cannot confirm that he had post traumatic stress disorder but when they responded to that altercation he told them that he was struggling to adjust after serving. >> brown: i had seen reports or there are some reports that routh's mother had asked kile to work with her son. you're yinghat itook lik that might be the case? we just don't know at this point. >> that's right. that's what officials are saying. they believe that his mom, who was a long-time school teacher, heard about the work that kile was doing and somehow contacted him. that's how all three of them connected. even prior to them going on the gun range, some neighbors said they had seen kile's vehicle in the neighborhood. it seemed like the two were forming some kind of
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relationship. >> brown: it looks as though one possibility is that kile was working with routh to help him, i guess. >> exactly. that' what itppears b that he was trying to help him during a difficult time. >> brown: so what happens next? what happens now? >> well, currently routh is actually in the jail. he is being held on a $3 million bond. last night we heard from the sheriff there that there had been an altercation with jailers that led him to be... they used a taster gun on him because he seemed in distress. he's actually on suicide watch currently. he's going to be facing two counts of capital murder in the case. they're still trying to figure out a motive. >> brown: and what are chris kile's friends saying about him today? >> they're saying that it is... the ones that i spoke to are just devastated because he had survived so many dangers during his four deployments. he had been in harm's way so many times as a sniper.
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he was pursued by insurgents in iraq. to come home and what appears to be from what officials are saying an act of kindness ended up ending his life. >> brown: melissa repko of the dallas morning news, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: next, the big archaeological find that appears to have solved a 500-year mystery: whatever happened to the remains of richard iii? shakespeare as well as history texts have portrayed him as one of medieval history's great villains. but some scholars have spent years attempting to prove otherwise, starting with a search for his grave. we begin with a report from asha tanna of independent television news. reporter: when archeologists began searching this park they described the dig as a long shot. but just weeks into the excavation, they made the most
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extraordinary discovery. a body. today the identity of that skeleton was made official. >> beyond a reasonable doubt the individual exhumed on september 2012 is indeed richard iii, the last plantannet king of england. >> reporter: the exact location of the church, thought to be the last known rsting place of the king, had been forgotten over the centuries until the dig. it was this woman who was writing a screen play about the king who initially funded the project and intis dated the search. >> the first time i walked here i just had the feeling. but then i came back a year later. there was the letter r right where i had the feeling that richard's grave was. believe me, i know how mad that sounds. to me that just gave me the push. >> reporter: it's taken months of analysis by a huge team o academics to scientifically prove beyond all reasonable doubt that this is richard iii.
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d.n.a. was matched from a living day descendent. 17th generation from the female line. >> we know there's a small part of you that is part of the king england. it's difficult to digest, i think. >> reporter: the hunch back monarch is accused of killing his own nephew the princes in the tower to claim the throne. his reign formed part of the die knows tick struggle known as the war of the roses. for centuries it was widely believed his remains were thrown into the river but this is where he was discovered. his well preserved skeleton was buried without a coffin. a combination of markings on the bones and genetic analysis proved what the experts had hoped for. history records that richard suffered a bloody death on the battlefield and a c.t. scan reveals ten wounds to the skeleton and potentially fatal injuries to his head. his naked body was hastily
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buried without pomp answer moany. next year he'll be reentered at lester cathedral in a burial his supporters say he's been waiting hundreds of years for. >> ifill: for more on the significance of this historic discovery, we're joined by john burns of the "new york times." john burns, it's kind of hard to look at this story and not ask yourself, how does one lose the bones of a monarch? how did it come that they didn't know where richard iii was? >> well, he was a very special monarch. i know as a boy who grew up in english schools how profoundly reviled richard iii was. shakespeare, of course, played a very large part in that with his play, richard iii, which dmicted him as anyville, malicious murdering uncle of the princes in the towers. as a hunch back with withered hands and so forth. he has for 500 years been
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largely seen in that sort of light by the people in this country. the fact that he disappeared had something to do that. there was no instinct really to go and find him. the people who buried him wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible because the tudors, that is to say, the people who defeated him on the battlefield at the battle of bosworth in 1485 have absolutely no interest in giving him due honor as a king. >> ifill: now that scientists and archeologists have had a chance to examine the remains, shakespeare described him as a hunch back. that he. was he a hunch back? >> no, he wasn't. of course, very unfortunate feature of this story is that there was in medieval times and indeed more recently than that an instinct to depict people with physical deformities as in some way morally deformed as well. thank goodness we've moved way
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way beyond that now. but i think there is is a possibility that the discovery of the skeleton -- and it does seem to be convincing that this is richard iii -- will launch a new era in scholarship in which the shakeearean, if you will, version of richard iii will be re-examined. there are people who belong to an organization called the richard iiii society who say in fact he was one of the best english kings. he introduced a number of things including fairer trials, for example, including relaxation of restraints on printing presses, which they say took a very long time after his death to become reality again in this country. >> ifill: i ow that's at richar i's admirers would like to do: retell the story. how is simply finding his remains going to allow people to get into the bottom of what his motivations were or what he did, what he didn't do, how evil he
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was or was not? >> well, that was a question being asked insistently today at the news conference in the city of lester. this confirmation skeleton was richard iii's was held there. it's really a hope more than a conviction on the part of those who believe that richard was not a man who deserved the revulsion that he has earned in five venturis since. it's their hope that there will be now a new wave of scholarship and popular interest in this dead king that will lead to a reexamination of things which have been for too long closed, if you will, in the mind of the great british public. >> ifill: i read in your story today that it wasn't just the d.n.a. trace to go the scendents ofrichard iii but something called radio carbon dating which allowed hem to
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figure out that these were really his remains. is this something they could have figured out 10 or 20 years ago? would we have had the technology? >> i think modern science has quite a lot to do with this. the science was pretty exhaust tive. they know that it was a male. they know that he died 25 or 30 years, either side of 1485 which is in fact when richard ii was killed on e battlefield. he skeleton, of course has revealed a great deal about the curvature of the spine. they know that this is a person who, for example, had a very high-protein diet which was reserved in those days, in the middle ages, only for the most wealthy and the powerful. and then probably most convincing other than the d.n.a. was the wound including a very large hole we saw as we were led past the skeleton rather refuse rengsally today.
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a very largeolebehind what would have been th lt ear of the skull which the experts said was consistent with a blow by a halberd, an ax-like medieval weapon which is consistent with his death. they said he was felled by a tremendous blow from a halberd. i left there pretty well persuaded that this is richard iii, less persuaded that the scholarship will turn upsidedown what has been the common public conviction. bui tnk we're for a few interesting years of scholarship. who knows where that may lead. >> ifill: what happens now to his remains? are they just reentered where they were found or do they go... aren't most british monarchs at westminster abbey or treated with some sort of special attention? >> they are indeed. that's what members of richard iii society had hoped for, that
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he would join other english kings in that abbey in london across from the parliament where many royal burials and indeed roya weddingsas we know have been held. but it has already been decided that richard will be reentered at the anglican cathedral in lester about 200 yards from where the skeleton was found. it will be done at a memorial service not a funeral because he's already had a funeral 500 years ago, a pretty hasty one. and that will take place early next year and will be accompanied by the opening of a visitors' center in the grounds of the cathedral which will no doubt be a major tourist dw. >> ifill: john burns of the "new york times," thank you so much. >> it's a pleasure, gwen. fill: you can read more >> ifill: read more about the d.n.a. analysis that helped to uncover this mystery on our science page. >> brown: finally tonight, short
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>> brown: now, to another in our series on the nation's high school dropout crisis, told this time through a different lens: good teachers can help keep kids in school, but how can schools hold on to their top teachers? hari is back with a report for our "american graduate" project. >> it's a simple question at the center of almost any discussion on education reform. what makes a good teacher? but the answers are many and often complex, and the question can lead to highly polarizing debates over exactly how and how often teachers should be evaluated on their job performance. at the front lines of this debate are charter schools. the fastest-growing sector of american education. with two million students now enrled in more than 5,000 such institutions across the u.s. bridgeport academy middle school in bridgeport connecticut is one of them. like traditional public schools,
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it receives per-pupil funds from the state of connecticut. but it is allowed to operate independently from the local district and uses a blind lottery for enrollment. the school is part of the larger nonprofit achievement first network of 22 charters along the east coast serving mainly low-income minority students. >> what ishe word for a gas... reporter: at bridgeport academy middle school the ultimate goal is to close the so-called achievement gap between rich and poor students. its principal is morgan barth. >> bridgeport is on the bottom end of connecticut which has the biggest achievement gap in the country. our kids are great. they come to school with some really heart-breaking deficits in their academic skills. on average a fifth grader comes to our school at least two or three grade levels behind. >> reporter: these kinds of educational deficits have caused ngering problems for a city where one-third of all students fail to graduate on time.
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>> we have to make sure that we are... >> reporter: that has led to a concentrated effort by bridgeport academy middle school. like all our achievement first schools to place and keep great teachers in the classroom. in order to identify who those great teachers are, achievement first ceo says the organization has developed a comprehensive checklist to evaluate its teachers. >> in the past teacher evaluation has focused on observations which at their worst become staged dog and pony show experiences that don't actually tell you a lot about teachers' effectiveness or more importantly how they need to improve. >> i want us now to walk quickly through the school work for the whole observation. >> reporter: at this school teacher observations are detailed bi-weekly and discussed at length in regular coaching sessions. >> you could have moved a little bit more efficiently through just the process itself. >> reporter: perhaps surprisingly they're also
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welcome here. >> i thought pacing was off a lite bhit bit. i thought there were a couple times where i wasn't quite there as i normally am. >> reporter: judy is a fifth grade math teacher and was a veteran in the nearby new haven public school district until coming to achievement first five years ago. >> the teaching model at achievement first is different than the teaching model at most other schools in terms of the way the lessons are set up. i found it was extremely beneficial initially because i was getting immediate feedback. >> reporter: tchers here find out every day how effectively they'veaught a lesson with short quizzes called exit tickets. >> for your exit ticket you have four problems. >> reporter: students are required to take one at the end of each class to measure their level of comprehension. but test scores and the results of classroom observations are not the only factors here that determine the quality of a teacher. >> we have parents, student,
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peer and principal surveys. so the teacher is really getting a whole 360 take on what they're doing well and what they need improve. >> does this model explain it? reporter: a large part of the achievement first plan to keep excellent teachers and those with potential to become great is the teacher career pathway. it's a model designed to place classroom educators into five career stages depending on experience and classroom effectiveness. beginning at intern and concluding at master teacher. reaching the fifth and final stage would bring a significant pay increase although exact compensation figures are still being worked out. the goal is to incentivize teachers to stay in the classroom rather than move toward administrative jobs with higher salaries. >> we have got to improve student outcomes. in order to do that, we've got to attract and retain very talented people. as our teachers, at our international competitors have done.
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and we think a big part of that is saying, you can make this a meaningful, rewarding career. >> reporter: that's something judy andrews finds appealing about how the model was designed. >> i'm not a first-year or second-year teacher obviously. in a taditional evuati system once yo get t a certain point, whether or not you get any type of financial recognition is based solely on the number of years. after a while that gets a little hard to take. >> reporter: retaining teachers is something charters across the country have struggle to do. in fact a recent study by vanderbilt university found that the odds of a charter school teacher moving to another school were 76% greater than a teacher at a traditional public school. rachael curtis is a former edutor-turned-consultant who recently analyzed achievement first for the aspen institute. she said the network has had buy-in on its evaluation system from its teachers who are on
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one-year contracts without the possibility of tenure because they were consulted during the evaluation model's development. >> the benefit of being the size that they are is that there's been an enormous amount of teacher engagement around the design. so i doubt that there a lot of teacher at achievement first who feel like this is being done to them. that's a much more common phenomenon in a large urban district in particular where you can't possibly have every teacher weigh in on how they think you should be going about this. >> reporter: the network is paying for the teacher career pathway in part with a $6 million federal grant. that financial reality rachael curtis says would make it difficult to implement elsewhere. it's a model that many school districts could draw lessons from. >> i think there's a huge resource allocation issue, right? what's not clear is, is it that they just have more resources or is it that they use the resources in very different ways? if you go into an achievement first school, you will see far few administrors an in most traditional district
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schools. the choices they make about how they deploy people i think is something that we all could learn a lot from. >> reporter: achievement first says the evaluation process and teacher career pathway remain a work in progress. but the principal of bridgeport academy middle school morgan barth says he's seeing significant gains in the classroom. >> we are regularly getting results that show that we have fifth and sixth graders growing two, two-and-a-hal grade levels yeaand really catching up. we're having 7th and 8th graders beat the state average. >> reporter: despite the fact that there are mixed results from national studies on whether charter schools are academically superior to their traditional counterparents, achievement first says they're making progress in leveling the playing field between wealthy and disadvantaged students, important in a city where 40% of all children live below the federal poverty line. >> brown: there's much more online including a video about
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bridgeport academy's strict rus, uniforms and college expectations. and a timeline of teacher evaluation controversies, from the launch of "race to the top" to last year's chicago teachers' union strike and more. "american graduate" is a public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. >> ifill: and we turn now to the west african nation of mali, where the french military continues its pursuit of islamists, amid new indications that many of timbuktu's ancient manuscripts have been saved. margaret warner has our story. >> warner: french warplanes struck ever deeper into the desert of northern mali today, attacking remote camps used by islammist insurgents tied to al qaeda. in the last week, french para-troopers and targeted air strikes routed islam i haves from the key northern cities of timbuktu. now the air campaign is focused on fuel depots, training camps
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and the rebels' saharan hideouts farther north. in paris today, vice president joe biden praised president hole-and-e's decision to intervene. >> let me say on behalf o president and the people of the united states we applaud your decisiveness, and i might add the incredible competence and capability of your french military forces. >> warner: on saturday the french president visited timbuktu and received a hero's welcome. he was joined by the head of the u.n. cultural heritage agency unesco. together they toured the ancient city's famed sites including its grand mosque built in the 14th century and this library once filled with priceless centuries old manuscripts. the manuscripts were initially feared to have been burned but the fast majority were safed. >> what we did was to liberate
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and sure that cultural places but also heritage elements like the manuscripts are protected and face guarded. >> warner: not as fortunate were these medieval maasly yums recognized as world treasures. the islamists deemed them eye toll truss shrines. last july they hacked many of them into rubble. today rebels opposed to the islamists and the government claim they captured the top islamist insurgent who had imposed strict sharia law in timbuktu. meanwhile the french military said its 600 troops now patrolling the city plan to turn it over to mallian forces later this week. for more on the state of timbuktu's ancient manuscripts and sites, i'm joined by lazare eloundo asso, chief of unesco's africa unit in paris. thank you for joining it us. i'm wondering what you've heard about your chief's mission there to timbuktu with president
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hollande. has she been able to make a preliminary assessment of the damage to these sites and these manuscripts? >> she, of course, being there had the opportunity to witness for herself the extent of the damage. you've seen her visiting one of the ancient mosques which was uilt in the4th century but also seeing the damaged manuscripts of the institute. she also had opportunity to tour the old town. she has a lot and she's even more convinced today than before that the role of unesco is absolutely important. >> warner: now, what about the manuscripts? i gather this library held about 40,000 of them. what percentage of them were destroyed or burned in some way? and what percentage were hid he away? >> everybody knows that in
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timbuktu manuscripts are held by different groups. you have the public library, of course, which was the institute. you also have private librarians who are having some of them. but also the families. it makes almost a total of 300,000 manuscripts and even more. we're talking about manuscripts that were burned by the islamist group. this fact of rching and burning the manuscript is something which we consider unacceptable because some of this manuscript dates from the 12th century. if some of them were among to burn man scripts it's a great loss for humanity. what about the maasly ups? from the videos we've seen the ones that were hacked back last july, how can unesco go about
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rebuilding those? what the community used to do was to go to these maasly yums to pour ship. after the mosque on monday and also on friday. so it has been for the past 100 years something they've been doing. the fact that they have been destroyed was a way of stopping them for practicing their culture. today we... it's a living heritage. without i the communit cannot move forward. it's about their future, of course. it's about rebuilding their dignity. >> warner: you still have war raging in mali or conflict at least. how confident are you that timbuktu is now safe from a repeat of what happened? >> well, it is our hope that the situation will get better and ber, normal and normal. also i think it's unesco's
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responsibility to respond to the call from the people and the malian people, the communities expect uso start helng and assisting them, restore their heritage as soon as possible. we will do it. >> warner: from unesco in paris, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> brown: finally tonight, short story writers don't often receive a lot of attention, but of late, george saunders has been getting plenty. saunders, a macarthur fellow who teaches at syracuse university, is an acclaimed master othe genre, known fohis bing social satire and deeply felt takes on contemporary american life. in his new collection he writes of a teenager who witnesses the attempted kidnapping of a neighbor and must decide whether to intervene; a war-damaged combat veteran who returns to a suddenly unfamiliar home town; a
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man with cancer who takes action to spare his family the pain, and then finds his own kind of salvation. the book is titled "tenth of december." george saunders joined us for a talk in our studio recently. welcome to you. >> nice to here. own: i think i want to start by asking about the genre of short story. it's something we don't talk much about. it gets little attention. why is it the form for you? >> for me it's almost neuro logical. i understand what something short should be like. i understand beauty in that form. if i start extending somehow i lose my bearings. it might be like in sports where there are fast twitch musses and slow switch muscles. my stories i can understand them as a little toy you wind up and you put it under on the floor and it goes underhe couch. >> brown: a short story compresses the narrative, compresses the story. you're known for compression of language. you leave a lot out. >> as much as i can.
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brown: really? usually i'll get maybe two thirds more than i need and cut back. the assumption there is that i can be more efficient, i'm actually being more respectful to the reader which then implies a greater intimacy with the reader. >> brown: these pieces are worked over, worked and workd and worked. >> there's a piece i started in '98 and just finished last year. >> brown: that's a lot of work. maybe slightly derang. brown: speaking of deranged people speak of your subjects as kind of whammy consumerism or sometimes or the absurdity of corporate life or the social relations. that comes through a lot of the stories for individuals, families, have's and have-not's in today's society. do you feel you have a subject? is there something you're trying to tell? >> i do but my approach is much more intuitive. what i find usually is i have a subject and i do that, it tends to be a little dull. so for me the apoach has become to go into a story not
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really sure what i want to say. trying to find some little seed crystal, a sentence or an i am and/or an idea and as much as possible divest myself of any deep ideas about it. by this process of revision it starts to get meaningful as you go. those meanings tend to be more emotional and intense than the ones you plan in advance. it's an elaborate exercise in being comfortable with an element of mystery or sort of an unknown quality. >> brown: these stories they do look at... well, the's one home about a soldier coming home. there's the title story is a man learning that he's dying and not wanting to put that on his family. these are real-life things. the corporate culture. i mean, where do these things come from? >> well, i'm really interested in those things that as ideas. i started out in engineering. i was a geo physical engineer. throughout the course of my life i've done a lot of strange jobs.
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the effect has been to makely kind of think a little more skeptically about ourapitalist society. so these stories in one way are a way of kind of just suggesting that there might be sort of an underside to it. in fact, on restrained capitalism is quite cruel. the cost is on the individual human on his or her grace. that's sort of a sub idea. >> brown: what's interesting is, i mean, you could approach those things political analyst or as a journalist. you're doing it as a writer but also a writer who uses a lot of humor. it's dark humor. >> i think if you, you know, there's a great, quote unquote, political story called grief. in the story all that happened is a man who drives a horse-drawn cab. his son has died earlier that day. the whole story is he can't get anyone to listen to him about his heart break. at the end of the story he goes into the stall with the horse and takes the horse's head and just says my son died today. i loved him very much. is that a political story?
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not really except, you know, we're ten years away from the russian revolution. to me if you want to sort of explore political idea in the highest possible way, you embody it in the personal. because at's sometng that no one can deny. whatever your supposed politics are, left, right, if you put it in a human connection most people will rise to the occasion and feel the human pain in the way they might not if it was presented in a more conceptual way. >> brown: some of your stories present the contemporary strangeness of life by taking us a little bit further into the... further into the future and taking something happening now and pushing it even further. so it almost has thequality of science fiction at times. other of your stories and i see more of them in this collection feel more right of the moment, realists. >> right. brown: humane in a way. i've been married to my wife paula for 25 years. we have wonderful kids.
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it's been a really rich life. i start thinking, is there a way to get that a little more in the story the idea that, yes, things can go wrong. but also they can go right. when they do, what is the human activity that makes that possible? how do things... how do people do good basically? i didn't do it intentionally but i found that sneaking into these stories more and more. >> brown: you're getting a lot of great attention here. critical acclaim. profiles. great reviews. how does that feel? >> it's really wonderful. it's a nice chance to watch your own mind and see how you react to the attention. i love the idea that more people would read short fiction. it's a form that softens the boundaries between people. i think in our time, you know, where so much of the information we get is sort of pre-polarized. fiction has a way of reminding that we actually are very similar in our emotions and our neurology and our desires and our fears. so i think it's kind of a nice
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way to neutralize that polarization. so i'm very happy that, you know, if i can do a little bit of work to get the short story out there, i'm thrilled. >> brown: the new collection is 10th of december. george saunders, thanks so much. >> thank you. brown: at noon eastern time we're hosting a live on-line chat with george saunders. u can ask him your questions about his work and more. to do that just go to our home page, >> again, the major developments of the day, president obama went to minneapolis, in a bid to build support for efforts against gun violence. f.b.i. agents rescued a five-year-old boy after a week-long stand-off. his 65-year-old captor was found dead. and a suicide bomber in iraq struck at an anti-al-qaeda militia, killing at least 22 people and wounding 44. online, we report on channg medilandscape in israel. hari sreivas tel us more.
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our reporting team in israel examines how newspapers there have become increasingly competitive and opinionated, spurred by american casino mogul sheldon adelson, who owns the country's most widely read daily paper. find that along with all of our reports from israel. and on making sense, larry kotlikoff spins a tale of marriage, murder and social security. all that and more is on our web site, jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the president's second term tactics for pushing his proposals on a variety of issues. i'm jeffrey brown. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you online, and again hereomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> macarthur foundation.
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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